Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Routine Traffic Stop Did NOT End With Officers Discovering Bag of Human Penises in Car

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 18 Dec 2018 10:27:31 Z)

Did a routine traffic stop in Florence, South Carolina (or anywhere else) end with officers discovering a bag of human (or whale) penises in the trunk of a car? No, that's not true: the story was pushed by the latest in a long string of websites pretending to be official U.S. news outlets but which only push made up stories to earn money through advertising. The story is not real.

The story originated from an article published by "NBC News 6" (not the real NBC News) on December 18, 2018 titled "Florence, SC: Routine traffic stop ends with officers discovering bag of human penises in man's car" (archived here) which opened:

Highway patrol officers in Florence, South Carolina have made an unusual discovery during a routine traffic stop: A 53-year old man was pulled over and a bag full of whale penises was found inside his car.

"He was sweating profusely and grinding his teeth together," said one of the officers who made the discovery. "I asked him to step out of the vehicle and place his hands on the roof. He did that, but he kept glancing in the direction of the trunk."

Officers noticed a vehicle with a damaged tail light early yesterday morning, but were not prepared for what was to follow after they pulled over the driver. Upon approaching the vehicle, they observed that the single male occupant was exhibiting signs of nervousness.

Screenshot of http://www.nbcnews6.com/florence-sc-routine-traffic-stop-ends-with-officers-discovering-bag-of-human-penises-in-mans-car/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so it would have looked quote realistic to them:

Florence, SC: Routine traffic stop ends with officers discovering bag of human penises in man's car

Highway patrol officers in Florence, South Carolina have made an unusual discovery during a routine traffic stop: A 53-year old man was pulled over and a bag full of whale penises was found inside his car."He was sweating profusely and grinding his t

However the website was only registered a few weeks ago and has nothing to do with the real NBC News:

Domain Information
Domain:nbcnews6.com
Registrar:NameCheap, Inc.
Registered On:2018-11-26

The site is part of a larger network of sites all designed to look like news sites from real U.S. news and entertainment brands. Older sites we identified as being part of this network include:

www.abcnews-us.com
www.boston-post.com
www.coindesk-us.com
www.foxnews-us.com
www.si-nba.com
www.thenyherald.com
www.tmz-us.com
www.us-nbcnews.com
www.vice-en-us.com
www.yahoonews-us.com
www.abcnews5.com
www.boston-post.com
www.cbsnews24.com
www.fox-26houston.com
www.fox-32chicago.com
www.thenyherald.com


The current site shares several advertising network ID codes with other sites in this network.

Stories published by the network are often copied or inspired by older hoaxes from other satire or fake news sites but the quality of the writing is usually markedly better. The setting of the events is often some small town somewhere in the United States and in many cases the main illustration used is a picture found on the internet showing a police car from the local police force or a sign with the town's name on it. The same story is often re-used by changing the location and/or names of the people involved.

The mugshot used to illustrate the story has been floating around the internet since at least 2013:

5 results - TinEye

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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